tv The War Room With Jennifer Granholm Current February 24, 2012 5:00am-6:00am PST
congratulations on getting through another day of thi t and good luck. welcome to the war room i'm jennifer grandholm. we'll examine the politics of gas prices and then off to michigan where the republican candidates are fighting for their political lives. we'll get analysis of mitt romney's endorsement from the state's biggest newspaper. and then we'll delve deep into the world of campaign finance and super pacs. all of that is ahead in "the war room." come on inside. ♪
tonight in "the war room," we're going to start with a focus on the economy and it's impact on the election cycle. knew data is suggesting that the economy is growing stronger and that could make the president tough to beat. as many of you are aware the labor department says the number of people seeking unemployment benefits is actually at a four-year low. and last week 351,000 laid off workers have applied for aid. those applications have been dropping steadily since october. below 375,000, that is what is likely to lead to a lower unemployment rate. so good news. and americans are feeling better about the economy. so a new poll out today shows that 54% of people think the economy is in recovery mode. check it out. last september, only 28% of
americans thought that we were in recovery mode. huge jump which is again, great news. but there's a serious concern looming, and that is gas prices. if they continue to rise, the fragile recovery could stall. right now average gas prices at $5 59 one year ago it was $3.19. so if elected gop newt gingrich is promising to reduce the price of gas. >> i have developed a program for american energy so no future president will ever bow to a saudi king again, and so every american can afford the $2.50 a gallon gasoline. >> now, there have been so many surprises in this bizarre campaign season. i'm constantly surprised.
i'm surprised we're debating birth control, i'm surprised that we're talking about satan. i'm surprised that some trees are the right height and some states don't have trees that are the right height according to mitt romney. but as sure as night follows day, it's a sure bet that demi gogs will promise they can lower gas prices. but they cannot. >> step one is to drill, and step two is to drill, and then step three is to keep drilling. we heard the same line in 2007 when i was running for president. we hear the same thing every year. they know that's not a plan.
especially since we're already drilling. that's a bumper sticker. it's not a strategy to solve our energy challenge. [ cheers and applause ] >> that's a strategy to get politicians through an election. you know there are no quick fixes to this problem. >> and unfortunately, he's exactly right. there are no quick fixes. he is being honest. but unleashing this gas price fury is the oldest political trick in the book. all politicians know they cannot impact the price of a barrel of oil by even one penny. this president could not do it. george bush who is an oil guy, he could don't it. no president can. so newt gingrich unless you would like to tap into your personal and seemingliless limit
supply of wind power on the stump, your claim to get gas prices down to $2.50 would be funny if it were not so cynical. here are the facts. oil is traded on world markets. we don't set the prices. the u.s. government does not own oil companies or refineries and even if we allowed the oil companies to drill baby drill in every nook and cranny on shore and offshore we the united states would still not be able to horde it. we couldn't be able to use it for ourselves. we wouldn't be able to set the price for it. it's on a global market. the united states uses 25% of the world's oil, but we only have 2% of the world's oil reserves. if we let unfettered drilling
happen, the increased supply would result in at most a reduction of $0.03 per gallon. $2.50, newt? i don't think so. why are prices so high? it is because of unrest in oil-producing countries like the middle east, russia venezuela, and speculators who trade on that volatility. and demand for oil is only going to continue to rise and other nations continue to industrialize, oil prices will continue to rise. so what can we do as a nation? well as the president say there is no quick fix. but what the leader of our government can do is undertake a long-term strategy to create alternative home grown sources of energy. in that way we won't be subject
to the instability of global oil markets or the hot air of blow hards running for president. now, for a deep dive into the political analysis we return to washington and ron klain, who has done a column for bloomberg news on this very subject, and he has served as chief of staff, and a friend of mine and i'm so glad to be able to welcome him inside "the war room." ron, welcome. >> thanks jen. it's good to be here. and congratulations on a great start to your show. >> thanks. i know you have been in a lot of war rooms in your day. but you also know having been in many campaigns and served many candidates that gas prices is the perpetual issue, and that no ceo can actually lower the price of gas, but you did write a very
interesting column this week in bloomberg with an idea of how to at least soften the blow. >> sure. i absolutely agree, the president can't magically lower the price of gases, and speaker gingrich can't do that anymore than he can build his moon base overnight. we can make more fuel-efficient cars all of the things that president obama has been doing and doing the right way. anditit g g pririsso hihi giving some help to the folks who are hurt by that through no fault of their own, folks who have to compute to work is the right thing to do so i recommended that the president before an additional 1% payroll tax cut for the people who need that money the most to help them absorb the cost of higher gas prices. i think we have too much at risk
economically with the recovery these people need help, and it's the right thing to do. >> so would you index a cut to the price of gas? how would you link the two together? >> i think basically what i proposed when he price of gas hit an average of $4 a gallon the cut would say on for 90 days. if you limit it to about $50 per month per person it's a relatively modest tax cut, and could easily be paid for by applying the basic corporate tax rate to the extra profits any oil companies are going to make. when goods prices go up oil companies make record profits not from drilling more just because the price of gas went up. so taking some of those profits
and giving them back to people to help them pay for gas seems like the right thing to do. >> i love it surcharge on the excess profits on the companies that we know are reaping huge benefits and putting it back into people's pockets. sounds like a great idea. have you have any takers yet? >> we'll see. i think the president did a great job today laying out this issue, reminding people that the republicans don't have a real plan, and we're going to have to see what comes after that. and i think it's important for people to remember that this president has fought hard for green energy programs that are part of the long-term answers here. >> i talk about this a lot, i got out of the volt and this were a car that would not in the
united states on the road were it not for the president. my gas mileage over the life of the time i have had it 133 miles per gallon is what i'm getting. so it's a beautiful thing. those technologies are key. you are on after the night of a debate and for our viewers, ron and i were debate prep buddies in preparing vice president joe biden for his debate with sarah palin. and i was blown away really ron by the unbelievable setup that existed in this general election debate practice. and i'm wondering is that common for the primary in a presidential debate? >> well i'll tell you if anyone
is preparing, these republicans for the debate we saw last night, they ought to have their debate prep licenses revoked. i thought all four were really flat and ineffective. but what they are saying is so far out of the main stream so far off to the right, it's just -- there's really no way to prep around that. he had rick santorum last night arguing that birth control was creating more out of wedlock births. they are way off the deep end. and that's not a prep problem. >> in the war room we like to peel the onion back peel the -- pull back the curtain a little bit and this prep stuff is so fascinating to people and since you i know have done it a lot, i would have never suggested that people sit down in chairs for a debate. would you? >> no i -- i don't think that's
a great debate format for anyone actually and i think all candidates are more effective at the podium. and when the candidates sit down at a debate it lowers the energy of the debate. so i think it was ant great format for them. i think there's fatigue by the voters listening to these debates. the 20th debate. viewership number last night was down. >> it's relentless. >> i think people are basically saying enough is enough i want to turn off the tv and forget about this. >> i don't think in a primary debate like this they are not doing as much prep as you would do in a general election debate. >> yeah i think that's probably right. although i think they should be preparing. they played a big role in the rise and fall of certain
candidates along the way, and although the audience was small last night, it was certainly larger than any of these candidates are going to have otherwise, but the nature of these debates are that the candidates are basically in a 90-minute exercise of apologizing for any reasonable position they have ever taken. >> that is so true. >> and they are going to -- the guy from indiana bashing the girl scouts -- >> i'm just saying. ron klain always on top of things. thanks so much for joining us. coming up michigan republican max down. we'll get the latest on the
no other television show does that. we're keeping it real. ♪ now to michigan, ahead of its republican primary on tuesday. a new poll from arg fines that rick santorum is leading mitt romney by 4 points. 38-34, santorum is up one point from a similar survey taken a week ago. romney also picked up an important endorsement today from michigan's largest paper the "detroit free press." but it was a bit of a tepid endorsement. the editorial board wrote:
so now let's go inside the mind of the "detroit free press" and stephen henderson, and he comes to us from detroit tonight. stephen welcome inside "the war room." i can see you with the background of detroit right in the middle of the political universe. it's exciting. >> that's right. all eyes are on us for the next couple of days. >> all eyes. it's very, very cool. let me start with the endorsement. so was it at all a hard decision supporting a guy who was so vocally against the auto bailout? >> yes, it was a tough call. as we pointed out in the editorial, there are a lot of things about mitt romney the candidate that we don't like
and that are distinctive from mitt romney the governor of massachusetts, mitt romney the savior of the 2002 winter olympics, and the venture capitalist. he has refashioned himself in a way that is discomfortable in a lot of ways so there was a lot of debate about whether we could put the paper seal of approval on someone who is expressing some of the things he has expressed. >> i'm going to read one of the caveats you put in the endorsement. for the past 12 months romney has been refashioning himself to something other than what his report suggests. and he is chest beating and straining to prove his ideological bonafides. and i'm suspecting that was the biggest concern you had was this straining that he is trying to
cram himself into a severely conservative box. >> right. and he is doing this because this primary has been dominated by the very far right. there are not a lot of candidates who appeal to anything but that far right, and so to win, i think he has decided that he has got to outconservative rick santorum or newt gingrich. and that's not who he is or who he has been for 30 years. this is a guy who is very familiar to us here in michigan and to you, obviously. he is somebody different. >> interesting, steve, because tom walsh who is your business writer noted when he came in for the editorial board interview, it was uncomfortable how he was training to justify his position on the auto bailout. and even last night at the debate there was more strain and trying to justify it. the bottom line as you say, he
was dead wrong on it and it's difficult for any of us to hear it, but it's not an issue that is going to hurt him in the primary in michigan it doesn't seem, right? >> well i guess i'm not sure of that. it won't hurt him primarily because he's not saying anything that everybody else isn't saying. >> but he is the son of michigan -- >> yeah that's right. that's why we expect that -- >> that's why. >> and, you know, i think that you can believe what mitt romney says he believed in 2008 about what should happen to the auto industry and still acknowledge that a different path worked very well for our auto industries. and the government bailout and structural bankruptcy is producing companies that are much better off than they were before. what is wrong with him saying i would have done it differently, but i can acknowledge that this worked. >> steve let me ask you quickly,
you are in touch all the time with business leaders inside of michigan. what is your gut? do you think the auto executives will be voting for romney? >> there is no other real choice here. none of the other candidates i don't think are very serious qualified candidates for the office. i think they are -- they are very much anticipating when all of this goes away because they are trying to do their jobs. get the auto industry back to where it's supposed to be and this is something of a distraction for them. >> so what would it mean for romney if he loses michigan on tuesday? >> i think if he loses michigan super tuesday becomes something of a grab bag. you'll see lots of different states going for lots of different candidates. it means we'll have a much longer time before we know who
the nominee is. he is going to have to spend a lot more money, and get across a much clearer message. it's as close to disaster as you can imagine, i think. >> well, we're all going to be watching. certainly i am. stephen henderson editorial page editor of the "detroit free press." thanks for joining us. up next the political ad are dominating the airwaves in michigan, and rick santorum didn't exactly hit it out of the park in last night's debate.
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♪ okay. now to the campaign front, president obama's recollection campaign is showing its teeth in the great lake state. a 30-second ad in michigan remaining voters that mitt romney preferred to let detroit go bankrupt. take a listen. >> now a retooled restructured industry is back because of the grit and sacrifice of michigan workers. >> i love it. mitt romney is the only candidate back in michigan today. the santorum camp treated him on the airwaves with the silent treatment. just watch.
well, that's one way to get your point across if you have nothing else to say. now for a closer look at these ads and the wave of spots to expect this weekend. we're joined by "ad week" ad critic barbara lippert, and tom del beccaro is back. welcome to you both in the war room. >> thank you. >> obama in a general election ad good strategy? >> absolutely. romney is playing twister, we has to say i love the trees, but i used to ride in cars all the time but now i'm riding in a chrysler from canada a lot.
of course these days i hate it. >> i'm exhausted just listening to you. >> he has the yellow and the red, and the green. and he has got nowhere to go. >> wow. tom. >> it is too early for this kind of feel-good ad. it's a good ad for him. it's not particularly truthful -- >> stop that right now. >> but it's a good ad for him. >> yes, it is. >> when you see one from the romney camp from his super pac, let's get rid of super pacs, please, and that's the kind of ad that romney should have been running himself over the last six weeks. >> i love the santorum ad. i read that ad and thought go romney go. >> you like the moderate stuff.
>> yeah no anti-contraception or witchcraft. >> let's talk about the use of a silent ad. >> i think it is effective. because people will look up. when there's nothing they really will look up and say santorum did something that makes sense. >> i think it's a disaster. people walk out of the room watching commercials, and when you don't hear any sound, he get to a very few -- >> don't you think you are consciously look -- >> you know that tvs -- networks put up the volume on tv ads because they know people walk out of the room. >> isn't that a beautiful thing? >> you are going to come back in to see did my cable go off because i couldn't play the bill? oh, no it's a santorum ad.
>> here is another ad super pac ad, and in this one he says -- have we got this one. okay. take a listen to this. >> he says i don't care how long it takes, we're going to fine her. you set up a command center and searched through the night. the man who helped saved my daughter was mitt romney. for me the most important thing he has ever done is to help save my daughter. >> this is an ad he should have been running all along by himself. >> it's the super pac doing it. >> i'm not in favor of super pacs -- >> his campaign did run this ad in 2007. and now his super pac is running this very ad. >> superpacks are super bad, but what romney should be doing right now, all of these guys
quite frankly, negative ads aren't going to push them from 33 to 35. it's time for the republicans to run those ads. i think it's too early for obama. >> i think it's disastrous ad. first of all everybody remembers it from the last time so introducing anything that says romney shut down in a commercial, people are going to say, wait what company did he shut down? he shut down bain to go look for this girl. number two, he -- the head of a company they could fly to new york and it turned out that the girl was hiding because she took too much ecstasy and she was hiding from her parents. >> i have got to go. >> mitt tell me the winning
lottery numbers. >> up next obama versus romney. it may or may not be the general election matchup in november, but it is definitely a battle of tax plans now. mayor r.t. rybak will be here later. and brett raises his thoughts on last night's happening in arizona. >> just around the corner my thoughts on last >>this is outrageous! [[vo]]cenk uygur calls out the mainstream media. >>the rest of the media seems like, "ho-hum, no big deal." we've have no choice, we've lost our democracy here. no other television show does that. we're keeping it real.
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about eliminating loopholes. jack gerard who's members include exxon and chevron mobile, said quote, this isn't reform if all he is doing is shuffling the deck chairs. and mitt romney also attacked the president's and pushed his own in a "wall street journal" editorial today. he described his vision for smaller government and wrote, quote: in fact it is the gop candidate's tax plans, by the way that would really run up the nation's debt. there was a report from a non-partisan group. it found that romney gingrich
and santorum all have presented policies that would push the nation's debt far beyond current projections. no big surprise honestly. for incites and perspective on the tax policy we're going to turn to the democratic vice chair, and minneapolis mayor, r.t. rybak. welcome inside "the war room," glad that you are here. >> great to be here. >> what do you do as vice chair for the dnc. >> i go on shows and say nice things about the president. it's kind of a fun job. >> that is very cool. so you are supposed to talk talking points and tell us the honest truth. here is what the question is we're seeing all of these oil and gas lobbyists gunning for the president's tax policy. the question is given how much
money they pay in congress is there any chance that this could actually get through congress? >> sure it is and governor let's throw the talking points and talk major to governor. we know when you do a budget it's where you put your money where your mouth is. so we have been picking winners and losers and the winners have been oil and gas companies, and hedge fund managers like mitt romney and the president proposes to eliminate those cuts and instead give it to small business, and the president doesn't add a nickel to the deficit while romney adds $1 trillion in debt with his policy. the president is sticking with the middle class, small
business mitt romney is sticking with hedge fund managers and oil and gas companies. >> anybody who is watching who thinks that a tax code does not pick winners and losers -- this is why the tax code has thousands and thousands of pages, because all of these lobbyists have brought their own loophole. what is the policy that is going to create jobs in this country, right? and that is the issue for the president? are these tax plans that will create jobs and are the tax loopholes currently in the system, are they creating or keeping jobs here? if they are not, they should go and the money should be put to where we think there is going to be job opportunity, right? >> you are right, governor. let's pick one of the things. you are a small business. you make an invest inspect your business up to a million dollars. let's remove the tax burden
meanwhile he'll say those people in the oil and gas business should not be getting a break. mitt romney and other folks who are hedge fund managers and stuff have perfect right to make money, but why should we be subsidizing them with tax breaks. >> just quickly, one of the other loopholes that he proposes to close is a loophole that really subsidizes the offshoring of jobs. and of course multinational companies are going to locate where they think they can maximize their return. they are not making decisions out of loyalty, they are making decisions out of the bottom line but if they are rewarded for moving jobs offshore that's not a good strategy. >> i think the idea of when a
business makes a decision about where to locate part of their employment base they shouldn't look at the tax code and say, oh, good i get a break by moving them out of the united states. you know that the president not only stepped up and helped save the auto industry but also is encouraging insourcing. i'm sick of things that i consume being made in china, let's have them made in america. >> my last comment, major is that every governor and every major is doing everything they can to lure businesses to their particular area. mitt romney did it when he was governor of massachusetts and in his role he picked sectors. he picked winners that he thought were consistent with the strength of massachusetts. he provided tax incentives for those winners, because he thought that was important for his state. you do that as mayor of
minneapolis. the idea that you don't pick winners and losers is a lie. >> i'm laughing because one of the tax breaks you did was for film, so grand turreno was written in your home state. so thanks a lot for that one. it was a good thing for michigan by the way. but what the president is saying let's encourage the jobs of tomorrow and build these things here. >> you are a great spokesperson for the president, for the dnc. thanks so much for joining us. that was mayor r.t. rybak, the major of minneapolis. and the citizens united ruling is coming under heavy scrutiny
this year's presidential campaigns. the los angeles times are reporting that some of the people running the super pacs are now paying themselves six-figure salaries. and funneling the money into their own pockets. that's what we want to talk about right now. today protesters -- assemble outside of the supreme court last week. and the justices granted a stay on a montana state court ruling which challenged the citizens united decision. and that sets the stage for our u.s. supreme court to actually potentially review it's a own case. very interesting. there's another way to undue the impact of citizens united in addition to going back to the
supreme court and that is through a constitutional amendment. last week new mexico legislation passed a resolution demanding congress to act. and hawaii passed a similar act. i am so pleased to be joined by bob edgar, the president and ceo of common a cause, which is the group that helped organize the protest today outside of the supreme court. bob comes to us from washington as you can see. welcome inside "the war room." >> governor it's great to be with you, and best wishes to your show. you are doing a great job. >> i appreciate it. thank you. we're right at ground zero and one of the issues we're following is this citizens united issue. but let's take a look at what it was like on the ground today in
terms of the protests at the supreme court. >> today we gathered in front of the supreme court to do two things. one is to pushback on the citizens united decision, but also to thank two justices who last week when the supreme court stayed the montana supreme court's decision montana said we want to keep the rules in place that prohibit corporations from getting involved in politics. the supreme court said no because of citizens united that very narrow decision, 5-4 that passed two years ago, the decision that came down from the courts they had to stop the montana decision but two justices said maybe as a result of what we have seen with all of these super pacs and the fact that this is going to be the most moneyed election in the history of the united states maybe we should relook at the citizens united decision. so a group of us gathered by the
steps of the supreme court. we basically pointed out that corporations are not people. money is not speech. money can stifle speech. and legislative bodies whether it is in the state of michigan or in a local city council, and ought to be able to regulate money in politics. and we hope that maybe there's a little open window for the supreme court to go back and reconsider the decision particularly based on what we have seen in the romney and gingrich campaign. >> sure. so as you said she wrote last week, and i'm going to read the quote. they want to review whether the montana case will give the court:
there has been some changes on the court, you have justice kay gan who has been appointed. and i'm curious as to whether you think that will change the dynamic. because i'm not sure her replacing justice stevens will get us that vote today. >> a report today asked me a question, and i told him i believe in miracles i'm a preacher and a politician. and there were five justices that spoke for the majority. you only need one to think maybe we went too far with citizens united to come over to the other side. and if five said let's take a second look at the supreme court decision, should somebody who is a wealthy billionaire be able to give 5 or $10 million to a super
pac? and what about the independents. >> exactly. and thank you so much for being on. i just want to say there is an opportunity for legislative bodies to enact your own resolutions. make it a movement across the country. this is bob edgar, the president and ceo of common a cause. up next what does brett ehrlich think about when he watches a debate. we will tread cautiously and fine out the answer